Vale Casey Kasem

American radio legend Casey Kasem has died, aged 82.

Kasum, who was recently suffering from failing health and dementia, passed away “surrounded by his family and friends” on Sunday, American fathers day.

Casey Kasum became known around the world as the host of the syndicated program American Top 40. At its peak, the show, heard in almost every radio market in Australia, was syndicated to more than a thousand stations in 50 countries.

Kasem co-created the show with Tom Rounds who passed away just over a week ago aged 77. Through the years AT40 has only had three hosts: Casey Kasem from 1970 till 1988 and then again from 1998 until his retirement in 2003. In between, another show, also called AT40 was presented by Shadoe Stevens. The indefatigable Ryan Seacrest took over in 2004 and is still going strong.

But it is Kasem that was to AT40 what Sean Connery is to the James Bond franchise – the original and best. During the ‘80’s the program aired on 2UW (now KIIS 106.5) on the weekends for just four hours. Yet his voice and style were so distinctive, that when listeners were asked to name any of the station’s on air staff, it was Kasem that first came to mind. The station’s Mon – Fri breakfast announcer came in second.

Before the internet , AT40 was one of the ways for Australians to discover new music coming out of America (see our article on why radio is still the way to discover new music). Read more about his life and career here.

Kasem was the voice of Shaggy in the Scooby Doo cartoon series and did voiceovers for many radio and tv stations in America.

Click the pic to see a tribute to Kasem on the American Top 40 site.

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